(In the fall of 2004 at Wheaton College, where I was a senior, a couple of students from the Student Government were trying to approve an official statement from the Wheaton College Student Body declearing a stance in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment that would outlaw homosexual marriage. A number of students rose up in opposition to the attempt to approve the statement. I’m ever grateful to Lola, the Student body president at the time, for if she had not vetoed the initial vote on the statement it would have been sent out and made regardless of others input. Anyways, here is my article for the Wheaton College school newspaper concerning the topic)
How do we truly love our neighbor? If I may contextualize a bit: Jesus says do as the homosexual prostitute did when he, not judging or condemning, had compassion and cared for the needs of the Wheaton student who had been left for dead in the alley outside of the ministry she worked at, even after another Wheaton student and a pastor drove by. (LUKE 10:30-37).
Some in our community feel that loving your neighbor is best done by supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment, I’m fearful of that action. I am neither the person, nor a Record article the place to sway your decision on the Federal Marriage Amendment. I will say that we must be very clear that the FMA is NOT a stand against homosexuality as sin, but a political statement concerning the rights of those already practicing homosexuality. My words here are only to voice a concern over the message that Student Government and the Wheaton College student body will send to the world if we COLLECTIVELY support this amendment. This is not a definitive statement, only a few thoughts.
Jesus’ public condemnations where almost always directed to the Religious authorities within the religious community that he was a part of. In the early church we see most rebuking and moral standards being dealt with within the church, not to non-Christians. Paul even says, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” (I Cor. 5:12)
This FMA Statement will define our community for years to come, especially if the news world catches wind of it. When we go to do ministries the question will not be about whether we are allowed to dance, but why do we dislike homosexuals so much?
How did Jesus address the idea of using physical punishment to uphold morality? He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.” (Jn. 8:7) We are not to use the law as a means to force adherence to our moral standards. You want to love your neighbor who is a homosexual? Go hang out with them, be with them. Work with Emmaus ministries on CSC (Christian Service Council), sit at the bedside of someone dying of AIDs whose family has disowned him or her. That is where you can share Christ love.
Before we try and take the speck out of others eyes (and I think by “brothers” Jesus meant other believers), have we made sure there is not a plank in our own? I’m not sure exactly how we go about doing that but I have some ideas of statements that we could make to the greater community that would at least be a step in that direction.
I have two suggestions for possible proposals and resolutions that I think we can as a college campus collectively pass and send to every major organization that is fighting for gay rights. First as it relates to the support of marriage. I think we can be humble and admit that Christians have not been a very good example of the sanctity of marriage. We can let the world know that we know that we too are sinners and fail to live up to God’s ideals. We can explain to others that God is and will forever be the one who has defined marriage, and no matter what we the church or the rest of the world does we cannot change that. And we can commit to being an example in years to come of what true marriage is, as a union before God.
The second statement I think we can make, relates to the homosexual people who this impacts. We, the church, have been a horrible example of Christ love to the homosexual community for years. Christ would have sat by the bedside of dying homosexuals in the height of AIDs in this country, yet we stood outside with signs saying they would burn in hell (or we passively stood by while those statements where made). We can beg forgiveness from the homosexual community for the hurt and hatred that has been dealt to them by members of the Christian community. We can commit to spending much more time personally showing and spreading the love of Christ in genuine ways to people who practice homosexuality.
Unity in the body of Christ is an absolute priority in scripture and should be on this campus. How do we bring that unity amidst such differences on an issue like the FMA, which is not a simple Biblical issue? Shall we divide our community by making collective statements that misrepresent those in our community? I pray not. Let us dialogue together and pray together. “And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Phil 3:15-16)
If you believe it is best and most loving to support the FMA, then I pray you are doing equally as much to assure the that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons know the love of Christ. Please don’t make a statement supporting the FMA on my behalf. To those who support the FMA, please feel free to collect 1800 signatures of students who support the FMA, but please don’t outcast me from the community by making collective statements. How will I remain in this community? How will I tell my homosexual friend that I chose to remain a part of a community that was making collective statements that to her carry such hate? Lord help me.
I feel like we’ve failed sometimes. All the blogging, letter writing, phone calling, and people are still being slaughtered. And yet, the urgency of doing something is no less important today then it was yesterday, or two years ago. Darfur shifted through our minds as it shifted from front page news to back page to only google searches.
I wish I could say a magic word and make all the injustice in the world disappear. But I can’t. I wish I could tell you that if we all band together and send a postcard, victory will be inevitable, but it’s not true. Even with all the benefits of techonology, the ability for us to even keep up to date on what is happening in Darfur, it has not been the solution.
And the truth is the result might not come in our quick, immediate gratification sort of way, and we have to be ready for that.
If you’ve never done anything to raise your voice against the injustice of darfur then you can act now. Send an e-card to President Bush about your concerns.
Need some inspiration? Read my article on Relevantmagazine.com about Darfur.
Let me end on this note. I good place to start learning about your Senator’s involvement is this site. You’ll notice at the bottom there Senator Durbin of Illinois. At the beginning of the Darfur genocide we did a letter writing campaign at Wheaton College, encouraging students to hand write letter’s to Durbin to address the Genocide. I arranged a visit with four students to meet with Durbin to talk to him about the genocide and ask that he speak up concerning it. I’m not sure if he was already an avid support, but I have to believe that we had an impact on that. Take a step, you can have an impact too.
This weekend Mindy participated in the Baccaluarate and Commencement at Wheaton College, her now alma mader.
The Baccaluarate message was titled: Donkey’s for Christ. The message was about Jesus riding in on a donkey on Palm Sunday. Basically the preacher was telling all these Wheaton College grads they where donkey’s for Christ. But when you think about it, college graduates from a presitigious school aren’t exactly ‘donkeys’ they’re more like throughbread stallions, so let’s quit with the fake humility.
Here’s Mindy and Ariah cooking and giving their thoughts on “Donkey’s for Christ.”
I don’t think anyone who reads this will be offended or bothered. This was letter I wrote and gave to a few guys in my dorm who kept taking the dorm furniture out of the lounge and putting it in their own rooms. It also was during a time of a lot of people stealing silverware from the dining hall. That should be all the context you need:
“Thou shalt not steal..” –Exodus 20:15
It’s the eighth commandment. One of those pinnacle commands that not only born-again Christians uphold, but nearly every religion and culture in the world. So then why do we steal? I’m not taking about car heist or bank robberies. I’m not even talking about five finger discounts at Walmart, we are to well off to need to do that, and the consequences of getting caught are worse then we want to deal with. Stealing is taking something that is not yours. Whether it’s food from Saga or a couch from the lounge, it’s stealing. Be for you try and justify the incidents that are beginning to come to your mind, pause for a minute. The fact is it doesn’t matter if they have tons of leftovers anyways, or that nobody would miss that couch; it doesn’t matter if the person never even notices you took it, it’s still stealing. Do you find it interesting that we think ourselves to be pretty good Christians because we don’t do any of the “really bad stuff?” Or is it more interesting that when something is a slight inconvenience for us, or would be a little more to our liking a different way, we justify every slightly immoral thing we do. If you think this is a guilt trip it’s not. This is a rebuke. Be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ. Next time something is not to your liking wait before you bend the rules. It doesn’t matter if it would be more effective (If that’s your concern, talk to the people who make the rules), if you break a rule, if you “borrow” furniture, it’s still wrong.
So for the sake of Christ,
Return furniture, and follow the rules at Saga.
I wanted to encourage everyone to stop by overflowmag.com and read some some of the open letters to President Litfin. People have written in response to a email Litfin sent out to alumni asking for prayer for the coming soulforce event.
Please read and post your own thoughts!
Overflowmag.com posted the first Alumni story that it will be covering in the weeks leading up to Soulforce coming to the Wheaton campus.
For some reason, it is really pissing me off. I am not grandstanding and I am not ashamed. I just want to let my peers know that I had a kid.
Please go and read the story.
Overflowmag.com is a website/publication I helped start my senior year at Wheaton College. It has since been fairly vacant and has not received much attention. Recently though I have noticed a need by some Wheaton Alumni to make their voices heard at Wheaton. Soulforce’s Equality Ride is coming to Wheaton College on April 20-21. It looks to be a very engaging event for the current students there. Overflowmag will hopefully play a role in making that happen.
For the next few weeks the pages of Overflow Mag will be dedicated to sharing the stories of Wheaton Alumni. There is and has been much debate and disagreement over theological stances as it relates to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. This site is not going to attempt to sway you in either direction as it relates to your Biblical and Theological stance. You might hear some points from both sides of the issue.
The stories that will be shared are here so that you can hear from people who have been hurt and mistreated by the Wheaton community and by the Church. As a Christian you are called to love. As a community the issues surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is far more complicated then whether the Community Covenant* says that it is a sin or not.
I will try and post a reference on here when stories begin to be posted, but I would appreciate you taking the time to subscribe to the overflowmag blog so that you’ll know about any updates that are happening there.
*Also to current students and recent Alum. If any of you who read this have strong feelings about the issues being discussed, or better yet, personal experience, particularly related to the Wheaton community, then I would love to be able to share it. Send your stories by email to me, or if your interested we could set up an interview that I could record the audio of and place on the website for download.
Before I walked into my room on the sixth floor of Traber dorm at Wheaton College, I had taken the time to sit down and write a statement to myself about why I was going to be spending the next few years of my life in that place. Writing out this mission statement was probably the most impacting and influencial step I took in making my time in college worthwhile.
For those new and current students who come across this post, I strongly encourage you to write your own statement and post it in a prominent place in your room. Because I was intentional about them, most of the statements below of proven true.
WHY I AM AT WHEATON…
I believe God has called me here.
1.He got me in despite my shortcomings
2.He’s provided the finances to be here
I am at one of the best Christian academic schools in the world because God wants me here.
God has called me here to…
-Learn about him and his work in many areas.
-To interact and study under some of the smartest Christians in their particular field in the world, and learn to glorify God in that area.
-To be a part of a body of young people eager for God
-To get a degree (because I have been afforded this opportunity)
-To be a light of God’s truth to the people around me
-To root myself in the factual evidence of God’s truth that I may stand on that firm foundation of God’s word.
“…And we take Captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
–I Cor. 10:5
When I think about my time at Wheaton I undoubtedly think of the many wonderful friendships that I have built through my time there. I also look back with few regrets about where my priorities were. There are many who look back wishing they had went to more classes, read more of the books, visited with more of the professors. No one I know wishes they had slept through more of their college years. I say all this to encourage current Wheaton students and any other college students to be intentional about your time. The parties will be forgotten.
A friend of mine asked me to reflect on my time at Wheaton and expressed a little about what I have learned from my time there. Rather then bring up a number of unrelated things in one post I thought I would just post as the reasons and situations come to mind.
I had the great opportunity to met with the Chaplain at Wheaton for an exit interview in the spring of my senior year. At gave me a chance to reflect on the good and bad of my time and I came up with a handful of things that I thought where the most wide spread, not necessarily just specific to my personal experience. The one I had the hardest time explaining is the one I’ll start with: The lifestyle of Wheaton College instills underlying assumptions that keep us from following Christ fully.
When I first got to Wheaton I thoroughly enjoyed the nice big dorm rooms, the fancy Lego-like furniture; I loved the food at the cafeteria and the fact that people cleaned up after me everywhere I went. I enjoyed seeing the flowers planted around campus and the nice architecture. The Student Rec Center was state-of-the-art and the classrooms had all the technology needs you could imagine. I enjoyed all of these things, and I justified in my mind that during my time of diligent studies it was nice to be in a comfortable environment with everything taken care of. Sophomore year, a campaign to build a $20 million student center began, and I suddenly realized the great tragedy of having all we had at Wheaton.
You see, when you sit in a “Christian” Institution, listening to a “Christian” teacher, amongst “Christian” peers, you have an immediate assumption that the Lifestyle, the buildings, the spending being done in your community is therefore “Christian.” But that is not necessarily true.
When you sit in the coffee shop of an extravagant student center and read Jesus words about caring for the poor, it is hard to acknowledge that your fancy community might be in conflict with really carrying that out.
I fear too many students have left Wheaton with this assumption: I can buy a big house, an expensive car, fancy clothes and furniture, take exotic vacations, live the high society life, AND still follow Christ call to take up their cross and follow him.
It’s funny I have this weird feeling that after posting this there are going to be a number of searches that will land on my site from high school seniors googling, “How to get into Wheaton essays” and “Free Wheaton Application Essays online.” If that’s how you got here, just know the essay that your about to read is probably not what got me into Wheaton. I actually got in because of my personal interview where I presented a song and dance routine in the key of h# and directed an entire pantomime by a troupe of trained monkey’s (though I had to agree not to house them in my dorm room; something about a total sum of body hair between roommates restriction).
I figure now that I’ve graduated, and because a friend asked why I wanted to go to Wheaton, there is no harm in revealing this essay to the general public. This was one of three essays I submitted for the Wheaton Application my senior year of high school. (UNCUT: Director’s Edition)
How do you see yourself as a good match to Wheaton’s academic and spiritual environment?
Since I first heard of Wheaton I knew I wanted to attend college there. It was a bright orange T-shirt with a blue Ichthus on the front and “Wheaton Soccer” on the back that first attracted me. “I’d go to that college just to get that shirt!” I told my friend who was wearing the shirt. At the time I wasn’t serious, but as I’ve learned more about the school I’ve found many more important reasons to go to Wheaton then to get a T-shirt.
Compared to many other colleges, Wheaton has tough academic standards. That appeals to me. I’ve always liked to challenge myself in school, taking hard classes that really push you. I don’t like to just get by, that’s a waste of the thousands of hours I spend in school. I believe Wheaton is looking for students that want to get the most out of their academic experience, and I believe I’m that kind of student.
The best way I’ve found to really get a feel for a colleges spiritual environment, besides visiting it, is by the people I know who have attended or are attending there, and the ways they are changed by it. In talking with friends attending Wheaton I’ve heard only positive comments and seen great growth in their spiritual walk. Those adults at my church who have attended Wheaton are individuals I have great respect for. The Wheaton alumni and current students I have talked to are all people with whom I agree theologically in almost all respects.
Two great men who have greatly influenced my life have also graced the halls of Wheaton. John Piper’s sermons and the memoirs of Jim Elliot have never ceased to amaze me. I want to learn from a school that has helped John Piper gain an amazing insight into God’s word and Jim Elliot an incredible patience for God’s guidance. Yet more then anything, I want to go were God leads me to go.